Friday, January 31, 2014
Korean Five-Somersault Claim: Genuine Trick or Flashy Stunt? Doc Filmmaker Disputes Boast as "Assisted Quintuple"
The impossible on the high flying trapeze -- five somersaults from fly bar to catcher, remains technically impossible. You may prefer to embrace what just occurred in Germany as a formidable advance in the spirit of trapeze art.
You may only find yourself charmed by a very good act full of variety and zest, no matter its lack of adherence to strict and honored traditions.
When the news came through that a North Korean trapeze flyer, Han Ho Song, had just achieved a quintuple in Germany, I was, of course, awed. I bought the claim without examining the evidence on a You Tube.
At the moment, I was on my out to San Francisco, so I did not take time to look at the video. And even when finally I did, I failed to see that the flyer, in fact, is hurled out into flight postion by a third flyer anchored to the fly bar. Which gives this act the look of a combination casting and trap act. Somethng like that. Would I like to see it? Of course I would. It at least looks tremendously exciting.
Quad doc filmaker, Phil Weyland, at work on a bio about famed quad champ Miguel Vazquez (The Last Great Flyer), deposited a comment here, wryly calling the act an "assisted quintuple." By the filmed evidence, he is surely correct. Here is his take on the matter:
"It's an impressive acrobatic feat... but not "classical" trapeze in any sense. The "flyer" hangs from a third performer who then flings the "flyer" up into the air...giving the "flyer" additional momentum unachievable by a solo performer".
Whether the circus world will buy the feat as genuine remains to be seen. Doubtful.
One thing is clear, the young flyer does not make the entry flight alone. His achievement is a byproduct of modern day multi-trapeze configurations, which have infused old patterns with fresh maneuvers. These days, trap flyers are sailing in every which direction, from all kinds of interesting rigs. I like that.
On its own, in its own way, the "quintuple" is a dazzling trick, yes. Monte Carlo Gold? My thinking has been challenged.
And what do you think? Here's the link.